Mixed race woman on EDL march in Grantham says group “are like family”

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A Skegness woman of mixed race says the English Defence League are “like a family” to her... a few minutes before she joined around 150 others for a protest march in Grantham.

Naomi - who did not want to give her surname - said she had been a member of the right wing group for three years.

EDL protesters march along Wharf Road in Grantham.

EDL protesters march along Wharf Road in Grantham.

EDL is protesting about plans to build an Islamic Centre in Grantham, claiming there is no demand for it.

Naomi said: “We are hear to speak up for the people of Grantham. They have a voice and it has to be heard. We are helping Grantham people to do that.”

She said Sikhs and Muslims were also members of the EDL and there were “plenty” of other women involved.

“I’ve met loads of lovely people at meeting and protests like this. There is nothing wrong with being patriotic and standing up for what you believe in.”

Asked about the violence often associated with the EDL, she said: “We cannot help it if counter groups want to get involved. We don’t set out to be violent or cause trouble.”

The EDL will hold an hour-long protest on St Peter’s Hill, today at 2pm after marching from the Blue Bull pub in Westgate along a street lined with shops, some of them run by foreign nationals.

A newly-formed group, the Grantham Solidarity Network, has gathered in Abbey Gardens, next to the protest venue. They promise a “peaceful gathering.”

Organiser John Morgan said: “We don’t want the EDL here. Our protest will be from Grantham people and on the grounds of religious freedom. Muslims have every right to have a place of worship in this town.”